Top 5 impressions from day 1 of the Escapade Music Festival

1. Anjunabeats dominated on their branded stage and the mainstage

Ilan Bluestone bringing the feels on the Anjunabeats stage #escapademf #trance #edm #edmfestival #ottawa

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Mat Zo brought a big time set to #escapademf #anjunabeats #ottawa

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Day 1 of Escapade was a celebration of Anjunabeats styled music as they hosted their own stage in the historic Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne park and later taking over the mainstage with label heads Above & Beyond as Paavo and Jono showcased their iconic tracks. 

Ilan Bluestone and Andrew Bayer are two of the biggest acts to come from the Anjunabats family and they both showcased their discography with zeal, interactivity, and with personality behind the decks. Bluestone seemed more relaxed since his performance at RBC Bluesfest last year, while Bayer brought the crowd into his world every chance he got when he wasn't busy mixing.

But the MVP of the Anjunabeats Escapade experience goes to Mat Zo, who spun an Anjunabeats classic set that left the smaller yet enthusiastic crowd in awe. While Above & Beyond was on the mainstage, Mat Zo went 30 minutes over his planned set schedule to give us "Rebound", his track with Arty that was arguably one of their biggest singles back in the day. He then took the crowd on a true time warp as he brought out the Kyau & Albert remix of "6am" by Cressida (2008), the Wippenberg remix of "Needs To Feel" by Super8 & Tab (2007), and many more. Mat Zo looked happy behind the decks and was clearly feeling the set. It was a special moment to witness. 

2. MK and Shiba San had the Ottawa crowd vibing

The underground stage was nestled at TD Place Arena where you had to take 2 flights of stairs down to reach, which set the mood for the vibe to come. Escapade transformed the arena into a nightclub feel as it was dark and moody, and the environment stood on its own from the rest of the festival. The acoustics was excellent as MK and Shiba San took full advantage of the room as they both crafted memorable sets. 

Shiba San - click to zoom

Marc Kinchen unleashed his remixes, dubs, and edits on day 1 which included his remix of Rihanna's "Desperado" that got the crowd dancing. Shiba San continued where MK left off by mixing his own tracks like his collab with Will Clarke called "Give It To Me" with the heater "On The Corner" by Solardo. If you want to go dancing, check out both of these artists.  

3. Escapade at Lansdowne Park was flawless

A little over 2 weeks ago Escapade suddenly changed plans and moved the entire festival from Rideau Carleton Raceaway to Lansdowne Park. Major festivals like Escapade take 8 to 10 months to plan, and having only 2 weeks to prepare for the new location was a daunting task to say the least. But DNA Presents, the organizers behind Escapade, pulled it off to a spectacular effect as I found no issues with the layout, the line, the food, the sound, or the stages. Everything felt polished and well organized, everybody looked happy, and the set schedule was adhered to without any major complications. Hats off to DNA Presents for pulling this off. 

4. Sheridan Grout and DJ Karl k-otik made the local scene proud

Fans that decided to head over to Escapade early were rewarded with one of the best sets of the day with Ottawa's own Sheridan Grout and Montreal's DJ Kärl K-Otik playing a special B2B set. Sheridan Grout has been gaining international attention as his productions have been showcased multiple times on Armin's A State of Trance show while DJ Kärl K-Otik has been spinning trance sets in the Montreal scene for years. They played a peak trance set at 4 pm which felt like a 4 am set at the famous Circus Afterhours club in Montreal, and felt genuine chills as they belted out euphoric tunes. Ottawa and Montreal fans should take note and make it a point to check out their next shows.

5. The Fans

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From the line outside, to inside the festival grounds and in the middle of the mainstage crowd - the fans made the festival. Whenever MK or Shiba San played something special, the fans made it known. When Ilan Bluestone and Andrew Bayer interacted with the crowd, the crowd gave them love right back. When Slushii or Dada Life wanted the crowd to jump, they jumped with enthusiasm. You can read vibe of the crowd by the smiles on the faces from every DJ I saw yesterday. Hopefully that will continue as on as we head into day 2. 

To follow the live coverage of Escapade, make sure to follow EDM Canada on Instagram and Twitter: 

A beginner guide to EDM summer festivals

Going to your first EDM festival this summer? Then listen up. It's easy to arrive at a festival starry eyed as you line up at the front gate and feed off the buzz from the anticipating crowd. There's also that extra jolt of energy after you see the main stage for the first time along with all of the other distractions happening on at the festival grounds.

New fans can easily get overwhelmed and burned out well before day 1 comes to a close. A festival can put a lot of strain on your mind and body as you stand and dance in the summer heat for hours at a time. It's important to take the following steps to give yourself the best chance at having a great time from beginning to end. The advice might seem obvious to some (drink water, duh), but once you enter the festival grounds it's easy to forget the very basics. This guide is here to help you along and keep you in good spirits as you navigate your first festival. 

1. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is the number one and most important piece of advice contained in this guide. A full day at the festival can last up to 10-12 hours and that's a lot of time to spend in the summer heat. As you dance away to your favourite DJ you can expect to lose a lot of water which can lead to dehydration. Find a water station near you and fill up your water bottle or camelback (If allowed) before you head back out in the crowd. 

2. Wear comfortable shoes

Festivals are not the spot to wear high heals or sport your latest fire Jordan's. Summer festivals involve big crowds dancing and jumping on top of ground that might be dry at the best of times or be muddy at their worst. Wear comfortable shoes that you can see yourself dancing/standing in for hours at a time and your feet will thank you. 

3. Adopt a realistic DJ wishlist

Planning your DJ schedule with your crew can be one of the most enjoyable parts of your pre-festival ritual. This is a hard ask but try your best to schedule a realistic DJ schedule so you can take planned breaks to drink/eat/chill. Give yourself enough time to transfer from one stage to another as the time to travel to different locations on festival grounds is often underrated. There are often thousands of people at a festival wanting to do the same thing as you, and the last thing you want to do is not schedule enough time to get your favourite DJ on time.

4. Make a point of discovering new DJs/genres

Almost every festival this summer features multiple stages with a wide variety of genres and sub-genres of electronic dance music on display. If you're new to the scene, do yourself a favour and spend time at the smaller stages, arrive early and sample new artists performing at the earlier set times to know who's up and coming. EDM is a huge musical environment that invites you to explore - embrace that ethos and make a point at checking out new acts. 

5. Wear earplugs

If you love music and want to enjoy listening to music for the rest of your life then you must protect your ears. Festivals have massive sound systems to make sure that thousands of fans can hear the set no matter where you are in the vicinity. Sometimes these festivals can be really loud and it's important to protect your ears from possible damage. A good piece of advice is to go to a music store and buy artist grade earplugs that protect your ears while allowing in safe frequencies so you can also enjoy the music. I bought mine for $20 and have had them for over 4 years. They're worth every penny. 

6. Consider renting a locker (If available)

Festivals have begun offering rental lockers which can be a godsend for fans as they can store spare t-shirts, fresh socks, rain gear, or whatever you need to make your festival experience the best it can be. If you love heading out in the craziest parts of the crowd and dance your butt off, then having an extra outfit waiting for you in a locker would be a great relief. 

EDM Canada has always been about showcasing and promoting electronic dance music, and that you only need the music to have a good time at a festival/club event. But if you don't subscribe to that advice, then the Ottawa Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force via Ottawa Public Health has important advice for you: 

(The following is an excerpt of a post that can be found here)

Festival goers who choose to use drugs should: 

  • Never use alone – stay with friends you trust and keep an eye on each other
  • Go slow if you are using a new substance;
  • Know the signs of an overdose and call 911 - an overdose is always a medical emergency;
  • Carry naloxone – it is a medication that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose;
  • If you witness an overdose, call 911 immediately. Administer first aid, give naloxone and if you are on festival grounds, send someone to get festival medical staff.

Festival goers should also be familiar with the signs of an opioid overdose, which include:

  • Breathing will be slow or absent
  • Lips and nails are blue 
  • Person is not moving
  • Person may be choking
  • Person will make gurgling or snoring sounds
  • Person can’t be woken up
  • Skin feels cold and clammy
  • Pupils are tiny (also known as pinpoint)

To read the full post from Ottawa Public Health, click here

Remember to have fun and stay safe this festival season!

If you still haven't made your summer festival plans, make sure to check out the 2017 Canadian EDM Summer Festival Guide.

Win 2 tickets to see DJ Shadow on Friday, July 7th at the Danforth Music Hall!

The legendary DJ and producer DJ Shadow returns to Toronto on July 7th at the Danforth Music Hall fresh off his brilliant live show at Coachella. He combines his mastery behind the decks with his well crafted sets that showcases his tracks, new and old, seamlessly. His discography is deep and long as he manages to weave together tracks like his latest with Run The Jewelz with his releases from his self-funded Liquid Amber label, to his timeless "Six Days" in his live set.

EDM Canada is offering up the chance to win 2 tickets to see DJ Shadow live on Friday, July 7th at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. To enter, simply log in to the widget above (counts as an entry), and use the variety of other ways to enter to gain more entries if you wish to do so. You must be 19+ to enter, the contest is open and will end on June 30th. Enter now and good luck!